Titular Earl of Lucan, Irish Jacobite and soldier
Born ? Died 1693
Patrick Sarsfield belonged to an Anglo-Norman family long settled in Ireland. He was born at Lucan, but the date is unknown. His father Patrick Sarsfield married Anne, daughter of Rory (Roger) O'Moore, who organized the Irish rebellion of 1641. The family possessed an estate of £2,000 a year. Patrick, who was a younger son, entered Dongan's regiment of foot on the 9th of February 1678. In his early years he is known to have challenged Lord Grey for a supposed reflection on the veracity of the Irish people (September 1681), and in the December of that year he was run through the body in a duel in which he engaged as second. During the last years of the reign of King Charles II he saw service in the English regiments which were attached to the army of Louis XIV of France. The accession of King James II led to his return home.
He took part in the suppression of the Western rebellion at the battle of Sedgemoor on the 6th of July 1685. In the following year he was promoted to a colonelcy. King James had adopted the dangerous policy of remodelling the Irish army so as to turn it from a Protestant to a Roman Catholic force, and Sarsfleld, whose family adhered to the church of Rome, was selected to assist in this reorganization. He went to Ireland with Richard Talbot, afterwards Earl of Tyrconnel, who was appointed commander-in-chief by the king. In 1688 the death of his elder brother, who had no son, put him in possession of the family estate, which in those troubled times can have been of small advantage to him. When the king brought over a few Irish soldiers to coerce the English, Sarsfield came in command of them. As the king was deserted by his army there was no serious fighting, but Sarsfield had a brush with some of the Scottish soldiers in the service of the prince of Orange at Wincanton. When King James disbanded his army and fled to France, Sarsfield accompanied him.
In 1689 he returned to Ireland with the king. During the earlier part of the war he did good service by securing Connaught for the Jacobites. The king, who is said to have described him as a brave fellow who had no head, promoted him to the rank of brigadier, and then major-general with some reluctance. It was not till after the battle of the Boyne (1st of July 1690), and during the siege of Limerick, that Sarsfield came prominently forward. His capture of a convoy of military stores at one of the two places called Ballyneety between Limerick and Tipperary, delayed the siege of the town till the winter rains forced the English to retire. This achievement, which is said by the Duke of Berwick to have turned Sarsfield's head, made him the popular hero of the war with the Irish. His generosity, his courage and his commanding height, had already commended him to the affection of the Irish.
When the cause of King James was ruined in Ireland, Sarsfield arranged the capitulation of Limerick and sailed to France on the 22nd of December 1691 with many of his countrymen who entered the French service. He received a commission as lieutenant-general (marechal de camp) from King Louis XIV and fought with distinction in Flanders till he was mortally wounded at the battle of Landen or Neerwinden, on the 19th of August 1693. He died at Huy two or three days after the battle. In 1691 he had been created Earl of Lucan by King James. He married Lady Honora de Burgh, by whom he had one son James, who died childless in 1718. His widow married the Duke of Berwick.
J. Todhunter, Life of Patrick Sarsfield (London, 1895).
Being the entry for SARSFIELD, PATRICK in the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, the text of which lies within the public domain.